Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 14, 2013

With debate over tax impact, Lewiston residents to decide fate of civic center

Niagara Gazette — After months of talking, Lewiston residents will finally have their say on the Lewiston Civic Center project.

A referendum vote is being held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Lewiston Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road, Lewiston. It’s designed to gauge the taxpaying public’s interest in the construction of a 140 square-foot, $8 to $9 million recreation structure on a 10-acre plot of land in front of Lewiston-Porter High School on Creek Road.

Proponents feel the project is extremely important to the community. Opponents feel the center’s price tag is extremely misleading.

Who wins? Only the vote will tell.

“I see this as a park with a roof on it for the community to use,” Gary Rose, co-chairman of the civic center’s organizing committee, said. “We have summer for about four months of the year. The other eight months, it’s doom and gloom. There’s really no opportunity for our children to do anything, unless they’re in a sport or musical or play on the school campus.”

Rose, who’s been a leading figure in the charge to build the structure, said the center has a lot of potential to serve as a community center as well as a place for athletes to play and train. Originally, the project was to include a senior center, which older seniors balked at in favor of less-costly repairs at the current center on Lower River Road.

It’s the space set aside for this purpose which Rose said could serve as a meeting place for anyone in the community, with an eye toward beneficial programs like tutoring for students or public gatherings.

And the athletic fields, including one section left unfilled in plans, could be rented out by independent contractors, he said, as early as the building’s completion.

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